NewsMatch will triple whatever you donate
“No, content doesn’t want to be free. Content wants to be supported; it wants to be valued.” — Joe Lindsey
As if you didn’t already know, everyone in journalism is haunted by the need not only to publish news—the lifeblood of a democratic society—but also to get readers to pay the costs of producing it.
The Austin Bulldog is no different.
The Austin Bulldog will celebrate its 10th anniversary in April. There’s no paywall. Access to our in-depth investigative reporting always has been and will remain free to anyone with an Internet connection.
Funding our modest expenses depends solely on the support of readers like you.
If you’re ready to do your part to sustain our coverage, click this button, give what you can, and get on with your day.
If you’d like to hear more before deciding whether to contribute, read on.
We made it this far with a handful of stalwart backers and an extremely helpful but narrow base of support. Still, Bulldog coverage exposed criminal conduct of council candidates who had no place on the dais, halted heavy handed library policies that interfered with the right to petition for signatures, helped save healthcare insurance for some 24,000 low-income patients, and triggered a criminal investigation of the mayor and council members that forced them to sign deferred prosecution agreements and implement sweeping reforms.
The Bulldog provides the kind of digging journalism that needs to be done. But I’m an army of one.
Typically the Bulldog investigates one agency at a time while adding deeply reported insights into big political stories such as the coming end of a county commissioner’s career and the rocky start of a council member’s campaign to succeed a longtime county attorney. Meanwhile other agencies that need investigative reporting are escaping scrutiny.
Bulldog coverage reaps reform
Among this year’s efforts the Bulldog has focused on the Travis Central Appraisal District (TCAD). It’s a small agency but its performance affects everyone who owns one of the 400,000 parcels of real property in this county. The assessed value that TCAD assigns to your parcel will help determine the amount of property taxes you pay.
The dozen Bulldog investigative reports about TCAD published in the last seven months kept the public informed about the agency’s self-inflicted avalanche of problems. As demonstrated in my December 1 report (“By every measure TCAD is having a bad year”), the agency’s Key Performance Indicators provide strong evidence of failed leadership.
The good news is that the disastrous 2019 protest season—which has yielded record numbers of complaints, arbitrations and lawsuits—apparently will not be repeated.
At tomorrow’s (Wednesday December 18) TCAD Board of Directors meeting, Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler is scheduled to recommend that informal face-to-face protest meetings with staff appraisers will be resumed in 2020.
It’s time to help support our coverage
Right now we have the priceless opportunity to strengthen and expand investigative reporting. We’re in the midst of NewsMatch 2019. Through December 31st every individual contribution will be tripled by matching donors. If the Bulldog reaches its goal of raising $20,000 that delivers $60,000 for more coverage.
So far 52 contributors have donated a total of $8,086—40 percent of our $20,000 goal. See their names here. It’s time for you to join them by stepping up to make a contribution.
Give whatever you can to help the Bulldog deepen and expand its investigative reporting so that more local government agencies get the attention they need.
I greatly appreciate your support.
Make your contribution right now by clicking this button:
If you prefer you can print and complete this Bulldog Contribution Form and mail it with a check to: The Austin Bulldog P.O. Box 4400, Austin, Texas 78765.